Rangers hungry for top place

Northern Rangers' Adam Edwards closes in on Kingborough's Nicholas Cuthbertson during their Victory League clash in late April.
Northern Rangers' Adam Edwards closes in on Kingborough's Nicholas Cuthbertson during their Victory League clash in late April.

JOINT Victory League ladder leaders Northern Rangers must beat Devonport City tomorrow to stay in touch with fellow leaders South Hobart, Olympia and Tilford Zebras.

Rangers, second behind South on goal difference, travel to Valley Road, with the Strikers keen to avenge their 4-1 loss in the Statewide Cup quarter-finals.

However, Devonport has lost both Bobby Eaves and Simon Wilson to season- ending knee injuries and their two imports are a 50-50 chance of playing, so its starting 11 will look considerably different to the previous match.

"Rangers gave us a touch- up in the Laka Cup quarter- final," coach Nick Owen said.

"Our whole team had a stinker so we are hoping to atone for this performance."

Rangers coach Tim Lunnon said Devonport was always a tough game, especially at home.

"Rangers did not beat Devonport last year, so it is important for our season that we come away with points this Saturday," Lunnon said.

Work commitments, injury and suspension has meant a reshuffle of the squad with Josh Burk coming back into the team and Yitay Towns getting his first start of the year.

"It's another opportunity to see where some of our younger guys are at in a critical clash for our season," Lunnon said.

Launceston City is out to prove its maiden Victory League win was not solely the result of marquee player Danny Allsopp, who netted a hat-trick in its 4-2 win against Tilford Zebras.

Coach Kurt Reynolds said his squad was in great spirit after its win and refreshed from having last weekend off.

Reynolds said the match against bottom-placed Glenorchy Knights was a crucial fixture for City.

"We see this home fixture as a great opportunity to improve our position in the competition," he said.

"Having not registered a point to date we know that Knights will be out for a win.

"We expect that Shae Hickey and Jayden Hey will be the key players to deal with. Both provide much of the drive for Knights."

Knights coach Chris Hey said City was a vastly improved outfit.

"They are creating a significant number of scoring opportunities every game, which is something we are currently struggling to do," Hey said.

"This game is significant to the Knights as we can't afford to go seven points behind Launceston City this early in the competition."

In a replay of last week's Statewide Cup semi-final, Kingborough Lions will be looking to improve on its 7-0 thumping by Zebras, who are sitting fourth on goal difference.

Ladder leader South Hobart plays third-placed Olympia in a game that will help to thin out the bottleneck at the top of the table.

WEEKEND DRAW - TOMORROW: Tilford Zebras v Kingborough Lions at KGV (2pm); Launceston City v Glenorchy Knights at Mitsubishi Park (4.30pm); Olympia v South Hobart at Warrior Park (7pm); Devonport v Northern Rangers at Valley Road (7pm).


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